The Navy is an important component of the national defence of a country as it provides projection of force and security at sea, and it is the military branch that is responsible for maritime operations. Several countries, including the United States, operate and maintain a fleet of aircraft carriers, which are large naval vessels that are capable of mobile naval airborne operations. Aircraft carriers are the pride of the Navy, since they are capable of projecting a mobile air force almost anywhere in the world. Up to 30 fighter aircraft can be stationed on an aircraft carrier, and they can be launched anytime during a crisis situation in any maritime environment. However, because the launch and landing space is limited on an aircraft carrier, it is equipped with advanced launch and recovery gear, which are operated, maintained and repaired by aircraft launch and recovery specialists. This is a very important position aboard a naval aircraft carrier since the safety and speed of airborne naval operations directly depend on the ability of aircraft launch and recovery specialists to operate launching equipment such as catapults, and recovery equipment, also called arresting gear.
Aircraft launch and recovery specialists are usually enlisted personnel, and no prior job experience is necessary since the Navy provides comprehensive job training aboard ships and possibly at naval bases. However, physical endurance, attention to detail and mission focus are required for a successful completion of training and accomplishment of military job tasks. Enlisted men or women may be supervised by deck officers who ensure that launch and recovery operations are performed by maintaining proper standards of safety, speed and efficiency.